Quebec Develops New Immigration Program for Francophones

Québec is considering a new immigration program that would accelerate the path to permanent residence (PR) for francophone immigrants in the province ahead of the release of its next immigration plan.

In its new immigration program, Quebec plans to target “graduates from francophone CEGEP colleges and universities as well as temporary workers who have lived in the province for some time.”

What Separates Quebec’s Immigration History From the Rest of Canada

Quebec’s potential new immigration pathway requires a fundamental understanding of why the province is able to create its own immigration programs.

Quebec’s present immigration reality stems from the Canada-Quebec accord, which progressively changed to allow it to choose its own “skilled workers” based on the province’s curated criteria.

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In 1968, Quebec launched its own immigration ministry in an effort to maintain the presence of Canada’s second official language (French) throughout the region. Quebec continues to seek immigration autonomy for its province because it wants to preserve the status of the French language.

This became evident when Christine Frechette, Quebec’s immigration minister, voiced her displeasure that Canada hasn’t yet made understanding the French language a requirement for immigrants.

Frechette recently stated, “[Quebec] will use all the levers at our disposal to ensure that the maximum number of immigrants are francophone; this is essential to the sustainability of French in the province.”

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It is still possible for the province to alter its selection criteria and bring in more French-speaking economic immigrants, despite the fact that the federal government has not provided them with the level of immigration control that they would like.

Several steps have been taken by Quebec to preserve and strengthen the breadth of French in the province, including Bill 96. In June 2022, Bill 96 became law, meaning immigrants “will only have six months to learn the language before all government services will be provided in French.”

Currently, the province can’t ask the Canadian federal government to prioritize French-speaking immigrants for permanent residency in Canada, due to the above-outlined desire to have full control over its own immigration.

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Consequently, Quebec will have to establish its own immigration program without help from the Canadian government in order to achieve the specific goals that it has outlined.

Quebec’s potential new immigration program has two primary goals

Quebec’s primary objective with its new immigration pathway is to “keep families, students, and workers in the province by making permanent residency more accessible.”

Québec will also use this program to advance its goal of protecting and growing the French language in the province by only fast-tracking francophone immigrants through this new pathway.

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